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Business

German car industry follows the signs towards recovery

As the Paris Motor Show gets underway on Thursday, German carmakers hit hard by the global financial crisis say they are getting back on track.

A VW golf on the road

The road to somewhere for German carmakers

Speaking ahead of the 2010 automobile show in the French capital, head of the Volkswagen group Martin Winterkorn said they had sold more than five million cars worldwide between January and September of this year.

“That means we have developed faster than the world market,” he said, adding that although there was still a great deal of economic instability, there were also clear signs that the automobile industry was picking up again.

VW, which has twelve brands including Audi, Skoda and Bugatti, said it was planning to take advantage of the current climate through a partnership deal with the Japanese company, Suzuki.

“Working with Suzuki, we will be very profitable in the booming global small-car market,” Winterkorn said.

Steady progress

Nick Reilly getting out of an Opel Insignia

The Opel Insignia is a current favourite, not just with Opel boss Nick Reilly

VW is not the only German carmaker to post good results. As the show kicked off on Thursday, Opel boss Nick Reilly said his company was working towards its growth targets. He said he was encouraged by customer response to the latest models that Opel was heading in the right direction.

The Ruesselsheim-based carmaker has taken 200,000 orders for the new five-door Astra which was launched at the end of 2009, significantly more than anticipated for the entire year. And Reilly said the company had also received many more orders for the Meriva than expected.

Opel, which until recently did not sell cars outside Europe under its own, but under GM's Buick nameplate, has also announced plans to expand its export network. Reilly told reporters that Chile and Israel were just the beginning of efforts to make Opel a household name across the world.

A piece of China

A red Porsche is refleted in a silver VW hubcap

The future looks shiny for VW and Porsche

The European car market, in which German manufacturers play a major role, is not expected to regain its pre-crisis strength for another three years, but consumer demand in China has been a major boon to many European companies.

Thanks to sales on the lucrative Chinese market, luxury German sports car maker Porsche saw its 2009/2010 fiscal year sales increase by 17.9 percent. The company indicated that its new sales record was worth 7.79 billion euros ($10.6 billion).

Porsche, which is deep in takeover talks with European giant Volkswagen, sold 47.5 percent more cars in China in this fiscal year than last. Worldwide it recorded sales of 81,850 models.

Author: Tamsin Walker (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

Editor: Nina Haase

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